A new report has ranked the United States #8 among 100 countries for widespread use of facial recognition technology (FRT).
The report came out of Comparitech last week. A team evaluated the 100 most populated countries to compare their use of FRT. The study analyzed the use of FRT in governments, police departments, airports, schools, banks, workplaces, and on public transportation.
The U.S. scored 18 on a scale of 0-40 (0 indicating an invasive use of FRT, and 40 indicating no evidence or an outright ban on the technology), pairing it with Mexico for the eighth ranking in the top 10 list.
“There is…growing use of this technology within the US, but buses don’t appear to have FRT installed as of yet,” reports tech writer Paul Bischoff of the findings.
Nations such as Australia, the United Arab Emirates, and Russia rank above the U.S. Unsurprisingly, China was ranked #1 for the most invasive use of FRT. It is well-known that China has an extensive camera and state-of-the-art FRT system in order to enforce a strict social credit policy.
Concerns are rising about the United States adopting similar practices. The UCLA has requested that President Biden ban the use of FRT at the federal level, citing concerns that the technology is biased against minorities. And while no federal ban has been initiated, cities such as Portland and San Francisco have gone so far as to ban FRT.
Comparitech identified Belgium and Luxembourg as the only two nations that have banned FRT.
Other key findings from Comparitech’s study include:
Only 6 countries had no evidence of facial recognition use. But, this is likely due to budgets/lack of technology as opposed to strict legislation/opposition to the technology.
Only two countries in the world are known to have banned facial recognition – Belgium and Luxembourg (the latter isn’t part of our study). Morocco’s recent moratorium ended in December 2020 and evidence of the technology being introduced in cities is already appearing
7 in 10 governments are using FRT on a large-scale basisPaul Bischoff, “Facial recognition technology (FRT): 100 countries analyzed” at Comparitech
Prior to the pandemic, the EU was considering a five-year ban on the technology “to give researchers and policymakers time to study the technology and figure out how to best regulate it” (Technology Review). Now, however, Comparitech notes that the pandemic has made facial recognition technology appealing as “governments and organizations are looking to make as many services contactless as possible.”
…a large number of countries have employed the use of FRT in the battle against COVID-19. From creating contactless services and tracking those in quarantine to ensuring social distancing and checking temperatures/mask-wearing, the technology is growing in popularity as a way to help track, monitor, and reduce transmission of the virus.Paul Bischoff, “Facial recognition technology (FRT): 100 countries analyzed” at Comparitech
You may also wish to read:
EU Mulls Five-Year Ban On Facial Recognition. Too soon, too fast, and not enough discussion of the objectives, say critics. Opposition is growing in the Western world to routine government use of facial recognition (FR) technologies. But it takes different forms in different places.
Canada Orders Facial Recognition App to Cease and Desist. Your face is likely already stored in this app’s database. The U.S.-based firm has been told that its actions are illegal and that it must remove all Canadian citizens from its database. (Caitlin Bassett)
Face Recognition: Is the U.S. Copying China’s Surveillance State? Although facial recognition (and the resulting “social credit score”) prevail in China, the technology is getting pushback in America. More chilling here is the amount and scope of information we have voluntarily surrendered to Big Tech’s “surveillance capitalism.” (Caitlin Bassett)